Goodnight Mommy

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Goodnight Mommy
Goodnight Mommy.jpg
Theatrical release poster
Directed by
Written by
  • Veronika Franz
  • Severin Fiala
Produced by Ulrich Seidl
Starring
CinematographyMartin Gschlacht
Edited byMichael Palm
Music by Olga Neuwirth
Production
company
Distributed byStadtkino Verleih [1]
Release dates
  • 30 August 2014 (2014-08-30)(Venice)
  • 8 January 2015 (2015-01-08)(Austria)
Running time
100 minutes [2]
CountryAustria
LanguageGerman
Box office$2.2 million [3]

Goodnight Mommy (German : Ich seh, Ich seh, lit. 'I see, I see' [lower-alpha 1] ; UK: Goodnight Mummy) is a 2014 Austrian psychological horror film, written and directed by Veronika Franz and Severin Fiala. [5] [6] [7] The film stars Susanne Wuest and twin actors Elias and Lukas Schwarz, and follows the complex relationship between twin boys and their newly-returned-from-the-hospital mother in a large isolated house. The boys begin to question the woman's identity, believing that she isn't the same person as the one who went to surgery, and therefore wondering if she is their real mother.

Contents

Goodnight Mommy had its world premiere at the 71st Venice International Film Festival on 30 August 2014 and was theatrically released on 5 January 2015, by Stadtkino Verleih. The film grossed $2 million worldwide and received generally positive reviews from critics, with praise for its performances, direction and screenplay. It was selected as the Austrian entry for the Best Foreign Language Film at the 88th Academy Awards, but it was not nominated. [8] [9]

An American remake of the film starring Naomi Watts was released on Amazon Prime Video on September 16, 2022. [10]

Plot

A woman is singing to her identical twin sons and is being filmed. Later a car is driving the boys who are a little older now to a modern lakeside house near a forest with one of the boys drawing a picture of himself (Elias), his brother (Lukas)and their mother. They arrive home and do not see their mother but later do. She is bandaged up on the face and has just undergone a facial surgery. We see the mother acknowledging only Elias by handing him a present. She sets rules that they should live by. The mother orders the twins to keep the blinds closed during the day (as recommended by her doctor to avoid sunlight) and not allow any visitors or any animals in the house, imposes a strict rule of silence inside the house (as she’s required to rest after the surgery), and allows them to only play outdoors in the garden. Later that night the mother puts the boys to sleep but doesn't sing them a song she used to sing them which makes the boys suspicious. The mother also acts cruelly and lashes out at Elias physically and verbally when he is mischievous or disobedient. The boys comment that this is something their mother would never do.

The twins begin to suspect that beneath her bandages, their mother may not be the same person. These doubts are confirmed when they find an old picture in the photo album that shows their mother with green eyes and yet the suspected imposter has blue eyes. With the suspicion that the woman residing in their house is an impostor, the twins escape from the house and go to an abandoned building in a nearby town, where they try to get sleep and take shelter from the heavy storm but are found by the sheriff and an officer. The sheriff drives them home, and is satisfied with the woman's explanation that she is their mother now the bandages are not on her face anymore.

The boys tie the woman to the bed with bandages and tape and refuse to let her go until she tells them where their real mother is. The woman insists that she is their mother, and the twins use a magnifying glass to burn her face to compel her to reveal where their real mother is. They then seal her mouth with tape.

Two employees of the Red Cross arrive to collect donations. Although they initially await the return of the mother, they finally leave the house after receiving a large amount of cash from Elias, which he discreetly stole from his mother's purse. Meanwhile, the woman breaks free from the adhesive tape around her mouth and yells for help, but is too late to attract the attention of the Red Cross employees. The twins seal her lips with super glue, only to realize that she is unable to eat. The twins cut open her lips with a small pair of scissors, slicing her mouth in the process.

As the woman is still bound and trapped, she wets her bed. The twins briefly set her free from her shackles to change the bedding, allowing her to subdue the boys and escape. The twins, however, have set up a booby trap that causes her to fall, knocking her unconscious. The woman wakes glued to the living room floor. Elias starts to burn down the house to pressure her into telling them the truth about their mother. The woman firmly insists that she is the twins' real mother. As Lukas holds a candle to the curtains, Elias asks her to tell him what he is doing, claiming that if she was really their mother, she would know.

Desperate, the woman breaks down and says she will play along with pretending that Lukas is there, revealing that Lukas in fact drowned during the opening sequence of the film. Lukas has been merely a hallucination, as Elias is suffering dissociative identity disorder and Capgras delusion, incapable of accepting his other half's demise. Elias ignores her, allowing Lukas to set fire to the house. The flames spread, presumably killing them both.

As firefighters attempt to put out the fire, the woman, now unharmed and wearing a yellow dress that was previously shown in a happy family photo, leaves the house and walks into the woods. The final shot of the film shows Elias and Lukas walking through the cornfield and emerging to be with their mother, the three of them smiling and embracing, singing Lukas's favorite song.

Cast

Reception

The film generally received positive reviews from critics. [11] [12] On Rotten Tomatoes, the film has a rating of 85%, based on 145 reviews. The site's consensus reads: "Dark, violent, and drenched in dread, Goodnight Mommy is perfect for extreme horror enthusiasts -- or filmgoers who prefer to watch between splayed fingers." [13] On Metacritic, the film has a score of 81 out of 100, based on 19 critics, indicating "universal acclaim". [14]

The National Board of Review named Goodnight Mommy one of the Top 5 Foreign Language Films of 2015. [15]

See also

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References

  1. In German, this is part of the phrase used for the game "I spy": Ich seh, Ich seh, was du nicht siehst, "I see, I see, what you do not see." [4]
  1. "Goodnight Mommy". Box Office Mojo .
  2. "GOODNIGHT MOMMY (15)". British Board of Film Classification . 2016-02-22. Retrieved 2016-02-22.
  3. "Goodnight Mommy (2015)". The Numbers. Retrieved 2015-11-06.
  4. ""Ich seh Ich seh": Immer diese schreckliche Ungewissheit". DER STANDARD.
  5. Goodnight Mommy at IMDb
  6. "Polished, nasty film Goodnight Mommy has cold, distant manner". The Sydney Morning Herald. Retrieved 2015-08-19.
  7. "Is The 'Goodnight Mommy' Trailer The Scariest Of All Time?". Music Television. Retrieved 2015-08-19.
  8. "Oscars: Österreich reicht "Ich seh, ich seh"". Kurier. 2015-09-02. Retrieved 2015-09-02.
  9. "Austria Selects Goodnight Mommy as Oscar Bid". Film New Europe. 2015-09-08. Retrieved 2015-09-08.
  10. "'Goodnight Mommy' Trailer: Naomi Watts Leads Amazon's Reimagining of Austrian Psychological Thriller". 2022-08-24.
  11. Catsoulis, Jeannette (2015-09-10). "Review: Twin Terrors Haunt 'Goodnight Mommy'". The New York Times. Retrieved 2015-10-13.
  12. Dowd, A.A. (2015-09-10). "Guessing the twist won't save you from the horrors of Goodnight Mommy". The A.V. Club . Retrieved 2015-10-13.
  13. "Goodnight Mommy". Rotten Tomatoes. 2022-10-04.
  14. "Goodnight mommy". Metacritic. Retrieved 2018-05-27.
  15. "National Board of Review Announced 2015 Award Winners". National Board of Review . Retrieved 2015-12-01.